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Two killer shark attacks during mating season were by the same randy beast which remains at large, animal detectives say.
An investigation has confirmed that two separate fatal underwater maulings at the resort of Sahl Hasheesh near Hurghada in Egypt earlier this month were by the same tiger shark.
As sharks delve into shallow waters during mating season, experts claim that overfishing and people lobbing food into the sea could have sparked the shark's attacks on the tragically unlucky tourists.
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One of the victims, a 68-year-old woman, desperately tried swimming back to land after the shark ripped off her arm and leg.
A missing Romanian tourist in her late 40s was also discovered off the coast of Sahl Hasheesh.
The Committee for the Protection of the Red Sea and the Association for the Protection of the Environment of Hurghada (HEPCA) have published an eight-page report on what caused the two deaths.
Almost identical bite marks left on the victims point towards the attacks on people snorkelling at the resort of Sahl Hasheesh being from the same tiger shark, and there is nothing to suggest that the shark has been found and eliminated.
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The experts say that during mating season, which lasts from mid-April to the end of July, sharks make their way into shallow water off coastlines for the warmer temperature and plentiful food sources – which makes it ideal to give pups a good start to life.
Mating rituals include shows of strength and possibly dancing once a female shark releases chemicals into the water to stimulate the interest of a male.
In the case of the Egypt attacks, remnants of food floating in the water could have acted as bait for the predator before its attention turned to humans, the committee added.
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Overfishing and active use of diving and snorkelling sites have also been given as main reasons for shark attacks in the Red Sea.
To prevent the tiger shark striking again this mating season and in future, experts recommend monitoring the area where the attacks occurred – stopping amateur fishing immediately and allowing only licensed guides to supervise snorkelling.
Looking ahead, the committee suggests bringing in a comprehensive programme for the management of diving and snorkelling zones to protect divers from sharks while preserving marine life.
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Suspending commercial and amateur fishing in the Red Sea should also be suspended over the shark mating season, it has be proposed.
Following the killings, all resort hotels in the provinces of the Red Sea and South Sinai were told to ramp up beach security and control procedures for activities related to swimming, diving and snorkelling.
The hotels must now warn guests about the crackdown on dumping food waste in the sea, as it attracts scores of fish and could tempt the rampaging shark back to shore.
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